Victims' families on the death penalty
The Marion County Prosecutor was emotional as he announced the man accused of killing Ofc. Perry Renn would face the death penalty if convicted.
Major Davis, Jr., is accused of opening fire on Ofc. Renn with an assault rifle on July 5 after Renn responded to a 911 call. The shootout also left Davis badly wounded.
There are a lot of factors in the decision to go for capital punishment, even in a case where the victim is a police officer. While the death penalty can bring closure for some victims' families, it can also mean a decade or longer court battle, dragging out the pain of losing their loved one.
"As any parent knows, they they want their child's life to mean something," said Spencer Moore, the father of Ofc. David Moore, who was killed in the line of duty three years ago by 60-year-old Thomas Hardy.
PHOTO: Ofc. David Moore
At the time, Spencer and Jo Ann Moore decided prosecutors should seek the death penalty. Hate, he said, was never a factor in their decision.
"You have to avoid the hate if at all possible, because hate eats you up inside then there is no answer to hate....Being a law enforcement family, we felt it was necessary to send a message to anyone who would to want to do harm to anyone: there is the ultimate consequence," explained Moore.
But when Hardy wrote the Moores a letter asking for forgiveness, mercy and life in prison without parole, the family trusted their faith and agreed - a decision Moore said he has never regretted.
"It wasn't a relief in the sense that 'I'm not going to be killing somebody, I'm not going to be involved in it.' It was a relief in the sense that 'I'm not going to put my family through all of this'."
PHOTO: Ofc. David Moore's family and friends (2011 WTHR file photo)
"This" being a trial and years of court hearings - a judicial ordeal Molly Winters did go through; an ordeal that lasted almost 17 years.
She was a young mother in 1990 when her husband, Muncie police officer Greg Winters, was murdered in the front seat of his patrol car.
Back then, life without parole was not an option. If not sentenced to death, killer Michael Lambert could have been free in 30 years.
"Citizens of Indiana need to know if they make that decision, then I have to be willing to give up my life," said Winters.
Winters gave up much of her life attending the trial, then more than a decade of appeals and hearings.
"It wasn't about officer Greg Winters killed in the line of duty," Winters said. "It's what this perpetrator deserves, what can we do to make life easier for this perpetrator while he's on death row."
PHOTO: Ofc. Greg Winters' family and friends (1990 WTHR file photo)
Lambert was put to death 16 years after the killing. Winters and family members were inside the prison during the execution and she said it was a relief.
"No more court dates. Finally, Gregg can rest in pease because justice was served. My children and I can have peace about us."
The Moores and the Winters found themselves in similar, tragic circumstances. Despite taking different roads, both appear to have found peace, and both said the death penalty decision was among the most difficult of their lives.